Spice of the Month: Safflower

Spice of the Month: Safflower

By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner

If you do a search for ‘how to cook with safflower’ or ‘safflower recipes’ you’re likely to get a whole lot of results for cooking with safflower oil. This oil is made from the seeds of the plant and is very versatile, as it is odorless and tasteless. However, the seeds aren’t the only edible part of the plant! Safflower petals also have a range of culinary uses, including creating a yellow orange color similar to saffron. Because it is much more affordable than saffron, it can be used in larger quantities when cooking, baking, or making teas. To see future installments of our Spice of the Month series and receive samples to try out, sign up through the CRDL.

I served this rice with collard greens and tenders.

Simple Safflower Rice

  • 1 1/2 cups sushi rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp safflower petals
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Rinse the sushi rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, and cook covered for approximately 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice and allow to rest (still covered) for about 5 minutes before serving.

Sweet Cream Cheese Buns

  • 2 packages crescent rolls (I used Immaculate Baking brand.)
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp sugar, split*
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 1/4 tsp safflower petals, split
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 9 inch baking dish and set aside. Combine the cream cheese, orange zest, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp of the safflower petals in a small bowl. Mix until well-combined. (I find a fork works well for this.) Set Aside. Unroll one package of crescent rolls on a cutting board, keeping all the pieces attached to one another. If they begin to separate, simply pinch those areas back together. Sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp of sugar evenly over the crescent roll dough. Unroll the second package of dough on top of the first one, starting from the opposite end so the gaps do not overlap. Using a rolling pin, roll out the two sheets of dough until they are well stuck together and the gaps have been sealed. This will increase the size of the dough sheet a bit, but be careful to keep the rectangular shape. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the dough, starting on one of the long edges. Leave 1 1/2 – 2 inches of the dough uncovered on the opposite long edge. roll the dough into a long cylinder, starting on the cream cheese edge and rolling toward the uncovered edge until the roll is completely sealed. Cut the cylinder into 9 equal pieces. (I suggest using a sharp serrated knife, like a steak knife, for this.) Place the pieces in the greased baking dish with the swirls facing up. Mix the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of sugar, 1/4 tsp of safflower petals, and 1/4 tsp of ginger in a small dish and sprinkle evenly over the top of the rolls. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until the tops of the buns are golden brown. These are best served warm. If you want to get extra fancy, you can top them with lemon sauce.

*If you like a sweeter dessert, use an additional 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and add it to the cream cheese mixture.

Lemon Sauce

  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp safflower petals
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • lemon zest (I didn’t measure this, but used four lengthwise strip cuts from a single lemon.)

Combine the coconut milk, sugar, safflower petals, and lemon zest in a small sauce pan. Stir well and heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a low simmer. Keep the mixture simmering for 3-4 more minutes, being careful not to let it come to a full boil. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Carefully pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the safflower petals and strips of lemon zest. This can be served warm or chilled. It is delicious served over Sweet Cream Cheese Buns, pancakes, waffles, or warm biscuits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *